Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith and Town of Carmel Police Department Chief Michael Cazzari report that their departments will be coordinating increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints to be on the lookout for drunk drivers during the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday. The extra sheriff’s deputies and town police officers will be deployed between March 16th and March 19th. The stepped up patrols are the latest action in ongoing efforts aimed at deterring intoxicated or impaired driving and is part of a statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown effort.
Historically, holiday festivities usually gives rise to increased incidents of impaired driving and drinking related crashes, resulting in injuries and deaths on New York roadways. In an effort to deter DWI offenses around holidays, the New York State Police, County Sheriffs, and local law enforcement agencies across the state go on heightened alert looking for impaired drivers with increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints.
While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug-related fatalities, too many lives are still being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible and highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce fatalities caused by drunken driving by as much as 20 percent.
“St. Patrick’s Day is an occasion of celebration for folks of Irish heritage and for others who feel Irish for the day,” said Chief Cazzari, “but, excessive celebrating can all too often result in some people overindulging in alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car.” The advanced announcement of the stepped up anti-drunk driving efforts is aimed at discouraging drunk driving. “We want to urge those who will be celebrating the holiday to make arrangements for getting home safely from parties, such as using taxis or designated drivers,” said Sheriff Smith.
The STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and implemented by the STOP-DWI Foundation. Last year, the Foundation unveiled a GPS enabled smart phone app called “Have a Plan” that helps users find safe rides home wherever the need may arise. The app is available as a free download for smart phone uses through the support of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Smart phone users may access the app at www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp or at their app store.